Campus Safety Week coming soon

John Kurecki , Features Reporter

The week of Feb. 28 is Campus Safety Week at UIS; the week consists of a wide array of events carrying various messages promoting a safe campus environment.

According to the UIS website, “Campus Safety Week is all about you at your best, with a focus on peace, respect, community!”

Some of the messages conveyed by the week’s activities include talking about race, building trust and respect, and creating a diverse and welcoming community, among others.

Also scheduled is a two-hour Q&A session with UIS Chief of Police Don Mitchell, which promotes discussion within the community.

These acts of community outreach are a core piece of the university’s philosophy on campus safety.

“The campus police department uses two approaches in its efforts to prevent crime,” reads a statement from the UIS Police Department. “First, eliminating opportunity for crime; and second, encouraging students and employees to be responsible for the security of other[s].”

The events of Campus Safety Week address these goals in the eclectic group of topics covered; activity focus ranges from typical collegiate education, such as alcohol awareness and safe sex education, to discussions on broader social issues that affect the campus community, such as discourse about race, workplace harassment, and even accomplishment of nutrition and fitness goals.

University of Illinois President Tim Killeen sent a letter to the university community on Feb. 5 explaining the importance of campus safety, stating, “The University of Illinois places a high priority on providing our students, faculty, staff, and visitors with a safe, secure environment in which to live, learn, work, and be respected.”

Killeen also affirmed new training aimed at promoting a safe environment, writing, “To help ensure compliance with new state and federal laws, students, faculty, and staff are expected to participate in a new online training program (mandatory for non-student employees) focusing on preventing discrimination and sexual violence.”

The UIS Police Department’s website contains information on a number of campus safety initiatives currently in place, such as the Code Blue emergency telephones seen across campus, the university’s emergency response plan, and the Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) System self-defense course for women.

The Code Blue emergency telephones, which are among the most visible efforts to maintain a safe campus, are present in 18 campus locations.

According to Code Blue, the company is “the pioneer in developing and producing vandal-resistant Blue Light Emergency Phones at thousands of education, corporate, hospital, airport and municipal locations around the world.”

The RAD courses are offered throughout the year, and generally consist of four sessions lasting three hours each. The course is only offered to women, and those interested can contact the UIS Women’s Center to learn more.

The Police Department states, “Safety and survival in today’s world requires a definite course of action. We provide effective options by teaching women to take an active role in their own self-defense and psychological well being.”

Information about these programs, as well as a full listing of all Campus Safety Week events along with their scheduling information and descriptions, can be found online at uis.edu.